Archives for July 2012

What Will You Do?

In May, 2012, Vicki Bolling lay dying in her front yard, shot three times by her husband. The local news reports say that the death of Ms. Bolling was no surprise to her sons. According to news accounts, her sons report that she suffered years of physical and emotional abuse that included threats, manipulation and intimidation. She was married for 30 years. Her son, John Stevenson, is quoted as saying “She is the only one in the world who could love a monster.” (Tampa Bay Times, May 10, 2012)

We know that she is not the only one…we know that loving a “monster” is possible. For women that love psychopaths, love and monster often exist in the same thought. The problem is, someone who has never been in the midst of this level of psychological trauma may not understand…they don’t understand why women stay…why women don’t see how bad he is. This lack of understanding of the power of pathology is killing women.

Domestic homicide is preventable. The mission of the Fatality Review Committee in Pinellas County, Florida is to convey that message. It is the responsibility of the Pinellas County Fatality Review Committee to bring to the table members of the community who share a vested interest in uncovering patterns related to local domestic homicides. In the last twelve years, the team has reviewed 103 cases. Cases are reviewed only after those cases have been finalized in the criminal justice system.

Domestic homicide, both locally and nationally, does not occur in a vacuum…there are warning signs and in a community, there are trends. Our report, published in May 2012, outlines the seven trends in our community for domestic homicides.
1-In 89% of cases there had been no contact with the local domestic violence center. Domestic homicide is preventable when victims reach out to domestic violence centers for safety and resources.

2-In 89% of the cases there had been no referral to a batterer’s intervention program. Domestic homicide is preventable when perpetrators connect with batterer’s intervention programs and their underlying behaviors and beliefs are addressed.

3-In 88% of cases there was a male perpetrator and female victim. Domestic homicide is preventable when our society shifts to the belief that all people are of equal value and control over others is no longer the standard.

4-In 85% of cases there was no injunction for protection filed. Domestic homicide is preventable when victims are encouraged to file injunctions for protection and have access to information and safety planning to assist in the process of leaving.

5-In 76% of cases substance abuse was a contributing factor. Domestic homicide is preventable when those who have a substance abuse problem are assessed for issues related to violence, both perpetrators and victims.

6-In 68% of the cases the perpetrator had a prior criminal history. Domestic homicide is preventable when criminal history is identified as a pattern of behavior and the information is made openly available to victims and during domestic violence court hearings.

7-In 69% of the cases friends, family, coworkers and/or neighbors were aware of previous violence. Domestic homicide is preventable when everyone in the community takes a stand against violence; stop asking why she doesn’t leave and start asking what you can do to help her leave.

These trends mean something. A “trend” refers to the idea or awareness of repeated, connected events. It’s not a black and white predictor but rather a clue to a potential. Trends are used in many areas of our lives. Many follow financial trends or housing market trends; some look at trends related to medical issues and even trends in our environment. Those that use trends take advantage of facts and information found in the reality of our lives…trends don’t rely on the maybe’s of the past but rather the truth that exists in the past.

What is powerful about trends is their ability to provide safeguards as well as hope. Trends help us connect missing pieces to prevent poor choices and they help us highlight information that will lead to improved choices. If we are open to it, they translate into the framework for prevention.

Prevention in the area of domestic homicide is risky. The risk comes because of the severity of getting it right or getting it wrong…human life is at stake. But I believe we must move through the risk. By “move through” I mean acknowledge it…learn from it and then see what follows. So, beyond acknowledging the risk lies a focus on prevention.

The trends that have come from our local review of domestic homicide highlight many areas that need more focus. The realities of these trends are not unlike acknowledging the realities of pathology. Identifying patterns of behavior in one person and accepting the reality of who they are can help prevent continued pain. We have to begin to call it as it is…we have to pay attention to the facts and the patterns of behavior.

So, what will you do? I invite you to be an observer-begin to pay attention to the people around you. As you observe the behavior of others do so without judgment…without including your “opinion” about who they are…leave out the morals that might have been handed to you or the input of society that doesn’t fit for you. Observe the behavior as it is…look for patterns… and when you uncover a pattern that violates who you are…or violates the boundaries of someone you love….do something.

As part of the mission of the Institute we ask you to spread the word about the power and impact of pathology. Share this report with those in your community that are invested in saving lives. Talk to them about the trends and patterns and about pathology. Domestic Homicide Fatality Review Teams are active in many states and communities…what can you contribute to the conversation? If your community is not talking about dangerous relationships then you can be the start…do something.

Finally, if you are experiencing physical and psychological abuse, please consider creating an Evidentiary Abuse Affidavit.

To learn more, visit www.documenttheabuse.com

To read the full report “Preventable: A Review of Domestic Fatalities in Pinellas County, Florida”, click here: http://www.largo.com/egov/docs/1337974149_814671.pdf

What We Believe About Pathology and Relational Health

“Some of the most disturbing realities are not that pathology exists, but that so little public pathology education for the general public exists.”
                  -Sandra L. Brown, M.A., The Institute

The Problem of the Unrecognized Face of Pathology

We live in an age where ‘Positive Psychology’ has ingrained a mantra into society’s psyche – which is:

If you think it

(i.e., the narcissist/psychopath needs to change his behavior)

Then you can make it happen

(i.e., your relationship will be successful when he changes)

That may be true when you are with a person who has normal psychology.  But it’s a long way from being true for those who have pathology.

For many years, people have thought that if they focused hard enough, loved long enough, tolerated more, and carried a positive attitude, their partner would somehow become unaffected by the personality disorder – even the psychopathy they bore. People believed this because they were often told this by professionals – all under the guises of different therapy approaches and theories.

For years, people who had gone through traditional forms of couples counseling came to us bearing the scars from not only the pathology in their partner who abused them, but by the wrong application of couples counseling therapy.  When there was the pathology of having no conscience, no lack of remorse, impaired insight, or low impulse control in a partner – traditional forms of counseling proved unsuccessful.  What occurred were often techniques in Mirroring, Love Languages, Communication Building, Intimacy, or Spiritual Reflecting for a partner who had no insight and lacked empathy for what his partner had experienced.  Equally prevalent, were ideologies that ‘the pathological came into my life to heal me,’ or ‘this is a spiritual manifestation for me to grow by,’ or ‘he is in my life to heal my issues from early childhood.’

Equally damaging, lack of public information often occurs through women’s organizations that lumps problem behavior in one category (abuser) and leave the impairment of pathology out of the equation.  People are then forced to conform to theories that do not fit their dynamics in order to get help, and miss the crucial ability to understand which disorders hold hope for change, and which do not.

There is emotional, physical, and relational danger in applying pop psychology principles to something as aberrant as pathology.  Trying to ‘attract’ the ‘positive’ to the relationship so the pathology is transformed leaves people ignoring the traits of pathology that can seriously harm them.  It is no wonder we are not further ahead in being able to spot abnormal psychology in others and avoid it.

The truth is, nothing impacts non-pathological people as much as being in a relationship with someone who is pathological.  Add to that the lack of understanding of how pathology manifests in relationships, and the manipulative behavior of those with pathology – and  you have partners, families, and children who are devastated almost as much by the lack of information, as by the destruction that happens at the hands of the pathological.  Without the education of ‘what’ the disorder is, ‘how’ it came to be, ‘whom’ it effects, and ‘why’ it harms others – partners, families, and children live in the shadows of unspoken confusion and pain.  This also bleeds over to family court, mediators, social workers, and judges who also do not recognize pathology, or care to understand it, leaving cases in limbo and in danger labeled as ‘contentious’ or ‘high conflict.’

Many who have found The Institute’s programs and products have said, ‘This is the first time anyone has ever explained this to me in a way I could understand.’  I have seen that when people finally found information that described their partner’s pathology, the awareness often gave way to crying, and then to anger.  It was the information they wanted that was out there all along, but was not easy to find, or was sometimes not easy to understand or explained in layman’s terms.  Equally as frustrating is such poor and inaccurate training generated out of generic approaches to pathology in graduate schools which leaves professionals with the inability to spot pathology in others, and a total loss about how to treat the survivors.  Consequently, the mental health field has done little to train the public about what pathology is, the limitation of wellness it implies, and what it looks and acts like in relationships, because they themselves do not know.

The efforts of The Institute are to bridge the gap in public pathology education to both survivors and treatment providers.  One of our bridges in public pathology education is for survivors and is achieved by providing the best and most up-to-date recovery options for their unique aftermath symptoms.  The second bridge is our approaches for victim service providers in the fields of mental health, criminal justice, nursing/medical, pastoral, addiction, and law enforcement.  Our products for service providers, as well as our face-to-face trainings, have equipped professionals in many fields from many countries with the tools they need to help heal the aftermath of pathological love relationships.

An M.D. said to me recently, ‘I consider pathology and it’s untaught concepts to be the number one health crisis in this country.’

We couldn’t agree more.  We hope that the work of the many professionals who are involved with The Institute will be the part of the solution to the unrecognized face of pathology and it’s victims.

Monthly Special

DVD 1 Understanding Destructive and Pathological Relationships + our good friend JL Vallee’s latest book ‘Severed Soul’ a survivors own story about recovering from PTSD.
Normally priced $39 + $15 = $54, NOW $43 + s/h

DVD 1 Understanding Destructive and Pathological Relationships

Core training for understanding the basics of psychopathology related to personality disorders (especially narcissists, sociopaths, and psychopaths) and the impact on personal relationships with them.

This training includes:

  • The unknown facts about pathology in our culture
  • The frequency of pathology in others
  • Why a pathological doesn’t change
  • The cause of personality disorders in others
  • Genetic Transmission of pathology
  • Pathology and its connection to child abuse and neglect
  • The pathological personality types and relating behavior
  • Relationship dynamics with a pathological person
  • The partner’s aftermath of symptoms

** If there was ever just one DVD to understand pathology for yourself or others, this is the ONE! A teaching tool worthy of being in everyone’s lending pile

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Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness

Happy 4th of July! With all that flag waving and potato salad,
I couldn’t help but think about ‘Independence Day’ — the day that women
cut the cords of dependency and exit dangerous and pathological relationships.

Your emotional and physical ‘Independence Day’ is the beginning of recovery.  It’s the day that you ‘come to’ and say:

* How did I get here?
* Is this REALLY my life?
* Where did the real me go?
* Look how much this has cost me to be with him
* Look what it’s done to my friends/family/children
* You know what? I’m not CRAZY!
* I don’t believe his lies any more
* I’m sick of feeling this way
* I am tired of hearing about how everything is my fault
* I am sickened by my own staying

Your ‘Independence Day’ is the day you pick up and read some insight-oriented material that makes you snap out of the trance you have been in within
the relationship. It’s the day you read a book, listen to an audio, call a counselor, or pack your bags. It’s the day you pray ‘God help me get out,’ change the locks on your door, or leave his bags at the curb. It’s the day you book a retreat, go back to church/temple, confess your sick relationship to others.

Independence Day symbolizes freedom…not only in this country but in ourselves. The freedom to heal. The freedom to choose differently. The freedom to gain insight from someone other than a pathological individual we have been involved with. The freedom to end what is unhealthy.

Life, Liberty and The Pursuit of Happiness are aspects of a healthy life that
can’t occur within pathological and dangerous relationships. There is no life in that! It has all been sucked out of you by the pathological personality that is needy, defiant, deviant, or insatiable.

There is no Liberty–he runs the show, your thoughts, your needs, your dreams. There is no Pursuit of Happiness–only his. All pathologicals have an agenda that include their own perverted entitlement. Your happiness is only an accident if it happens while he is pursuing his own.

People fight to keep us free. Shouldn’t you fight to keep yourself free? Independence isn’t the opposite of dependency. It’s the absence of self negation where you respect your own uniqueness, self, and life path and that you live first for these values.

Independence isn’t selfishness. It isn’t some prescription for alone-ness. It’s the foundation of boundaries, self care, emotional and relational health.
Independence allows and builds inter-dependence–the structure that allows us to mutually care for one another without pathological suffocation. Independence is most assuredly, your recovery.

If we can help you out of your dangerous relationship, please avail yourself to our book, ebooks, other products, phone sessions, and retreat programs. Your success out is our success.